Auburn Hills, Mich. - Don’t bother wondering about Plenette Pierson still wearing a Mercury uniform. Pierson doesn’t.
Drafted by Phoenix with the fourth overall pick in 2003, Pierson spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Mercury as a solid starter, and sometimes came off the bench.
She was traded 12 games into the 2005 season for Andrea Stinson and the Shock’s second-round draft choice in 2006 (that pick was later involved in another draft-day deal the Mercury made to move up in the second round and acquire Ann Strother).
“I had no clue it was coming,” she said of the trade. “I was on my way to practice.”
Pierson said she was happy for the change in scenery, and has since thrived under Bill Laimbeer. She was a key reserve on last year’s championship team, and has averaged 11 points and nine rebounds off the bench in this year’s playoffs.
She had 26 points (9 of 13 shooting, 8 of 8 from the free-throw line) and 10 rebounds in Detroit’s 108-100 victory in Game 1, and was recently named the league’s Sixth Woman of the Year.
“My game has excelled here,” she said. “I’ve learned a whole lot more from these coaches.
“I’m not big on awards, that’s not what I play for, but this (bench role) is what this team needed.”
Shock forward Cheryl Ford remains a game-time decision because of constant soreness in her left knee.
“It’s my decision,” Ford said Friday. “The trainer made her decision a couple days ago, but I made mine at game time.”
The Mercury didn’t know Ford wasn’t going to play in Game 1, so it sounded like a boon to their chances of swiping Game 1, except the Shock have two players in Kara Braxton and Katie Feenstra who are bigger than Ford, and played as such in Detroit’s 108-100 victory.
When healthy, Ford averaged a double-double this season, but Braxton and Pierson inflicted the most damage against Phoenix, so fixing the bigger picture is of higher priority than any one individual player, even if it’s an All-Star.
“Unless they can play all three at the same time, it shouldn’t be any more or less a problem than it already is,” Mercury coach Paul Westhead said. “Since I don’t know (Ford’s status), I can’t worry about it.”
A WNBA source said the league is expected to name San Antonio’s Dan Hughes as Coach of the Year and Chicago forward Armintie Price as Rookie of the Year before today’s game. ... Detroit’s 50 bench points were the most in a game in franchise history. ... Diana Taurasi has launched a blog at www.yardbarker.com ... As part of the league’s back-to-school program, there will be a “Reading Corner” unveiled at Camelview Elementary in Phoenix at 2:30 p.m. Monday featuring books, computers and other amenities purchased by the organization and donated to the school.